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Not to be for first game of the season

On a chilly autumnal afternoon the Amateur FA (AFA) began the new representative season with a match against a very good Middlesex FA side that provided the team management with a useful insight into what needs to improve before we meet Sheffield and Hallamshire in the FA County Youth Cup in two weeks. It is the first time in a few years that we have had the chance to play before this prestigious fixture and it is to be hoped that the benefit will be seen then.

Middlesex had played an earlier friendly and, although there were some new players drafted in, they looked overall the sharper team and may well have benefited from this. The match was played in a positive spirit, with both sides intent on getting forward and displaying their skills. 



The AFA had the first opening in the 7th minute, when an attack found Reece Antoine-Dacosta and his shot beat the Middlesex keeper, but unfortunately hit the post. From here Middlesex then assumed control. After creating an opportunity from a free kick, which went wide, they took the lead with a stunning goal after 15 minutes. The ball was worked out to Robinson on the left and he cut inside onto his right foot and hit a shot from 30 yards into the far top corner of the net. Although Harry Hauserman got a touch on it as he dived it had too much pace to keep out.

Robinson was in the action again shortly after when he created havoc with a cross, but David Ola did well to block the shot. The importance of this was soon manifested as the AFA attacked down the left and Justin Dumfeh cut inside. The resultant shot was cleared but only to Kevonte Willoughby-Williams about 20 yards out and he drove the ball into the top right corner of the net to equalise just 5 minutes after going behind.

The AFA were spurred on by this and came close twice to taking the lead shortly after following good work from Liam Mulligan and Dumfeh which led to Willoughby-Williams shooting just over on the turn and Rigert Rama having his shot blocked.

Just as it looked like we were getting on top, we suffered two sucker punches. Middlesex won a corner on 25 minutes, which was floated to the back post by Kurtaran and Bolaj was unmarked to power home a header from 5 yards at the far post. Then just 4 minutes later another Kurtaran corner, this time from the left, was not properly cleared at the near post and Bolaj was again on the spot to poke home from close in.


We came out for the second half determined to get back into the game but the plan was disrupted after only 2 minutes when a poke forward from midfield found Francis, who got the goal he deserved by sliding the ball past Hauserman.

This did not daunt the AFA spirit and our players responded within another 2 minutes. Dumfeh was released down the left by Finn Harvey and he beat 2 defenders to reach the goal line, cut back inside and fed Willoughby-Williams, whose determination resulted in the ball reaching Aden Brazil and he knocked it into the corner of the net at the second attempt.

The AFA were now  pressuring the Middlesex goal with a header over from a corner, a shot from Harvey, after more good work from Dumfeh, which the Middlesex keeper turned aside at the foot of the post. Still no goals however.

Going so close without reward tired our players and Middlesex came back into it in the last 10 minutes. An attack down the left led to a shot being blocked on the line before, with a minute of normal time remaining, another attack down the left led to a Middlesex player being brought down in the box and Kurtaran wrapped up the scoring by driving the resultant penalty into the bottom corner of the net.

The match was excellently officiated by referee Josh Burns and his assistants Terry Barnes & Adam Knight and though the result was disappointing for the AFA there were areas highlighted for the management to build on for the future and good performances from some players, particularly Dumfeh & Willoughby-Williams to take heart from.

So onto Potters Bar FC on 2nd November and Sheffield & Hallamshire when we hope for a better result.




Harry Hauserman; Ewan Bland, David Ola, David Nicolas, Emeka Ukaegbu; Finn Harvey, Liam Mulligan, Rigert Rama; Reece Antoine Dacosta, Kevonte Willoughby-Williams, Justin Dumfeh. 
Subs:- Aden Brazil, Jonah Sarpong, Theo Wilson.


Pat Folan - Manager
Gary Harrowell- Coach


Josh Burns - Referee
Terry Barnes & Adam Knight -Assistant Referees